For those who get a chocolate craving a little all too often, dark chocolate can be a great alternative to satisfy your sugar hankering in just a few small bites. Be warned though, even the best dark chocolate is not for everyone - the rich, bitter taste is often an acquired one, especially when it comes to 100% dark chocolate. Our advice for newbies to the dark chocolate world? Take it steady and work your way up the percentage scale...
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When it comes to selecting a truly high quality dark chocolate, you will firstly want to look out the cocoa percentage. For a truly 'dark' chocolate taste, you want to be aiming for 70% cocoa or higher. For anyone used to milk chocolate, in the first instance, this high level of cacao will likely hit your taste buds hard - weening yourself off milk solid laden treats by starting at 50% cocoa and working your way up the bitterness scale is a good idea in this case.
If it is experiencing the antioxidant-related health benefits of seriously dark chocolate that you are after (and a bitter taste is not a barrier for you) trying a 95-100% cocoa brand such as the Chocolat Madagascar bar in our top spot is a sure bet.
For anyone aiming to wean themselves off sugar with dark chocolate as a replacement for sugary treats, opting for a flavoured recipe containing fruit such as Pana Chocolate Fig & Wild Orange makes for a quirky and tasty alternative, with the fruit flavours adding a gentle sweetness that may just prevent major sugar withdrawal.
Check out our full list below for the best dark chocolates to satisfy your (bitter) sweet tooth.
1. Chocolat Madagascar 100% dark chocolate bar
A sugar-free 100% cocoa bar full of intense flavour
Cocoa: 100% | Flavours: Natural fruity notes | Size: 85g
For the purest of the pure, this Chocolate Madagascar bar will give you the fullest and most intense flavours, with the added benefit of it being sugar-free and totally vegan. You can expect to taste hints of fruit which are created naturally from the flavoursome cocoa of Madagascar, which seasoned dark chocolatiers may enjoy. However, for those who have not tried 100% cocoa before, you may find this chocolate a little bitter. Those on low carb and low sugar diets such as Keto will can enjoy this chocolate guilt-free.
2. GREEN & BLACK'S ORGANIC 85%
High-cocoa percentage without the really bitter taste
Cocoa: 85% | Flavours: Original with a hint of vanilla | Size: 100g
If you want to try true dark chocolate but aren’t too keen on going 100%, then Green & Black’s chocolate is a popular choice amongst chocolate-lovers. This organic and Fairtrade bar is made with 85% cocoa and is softened with a light hint of Madagascan vanilla which you can expect to be smooth and light on the palette. It’s suitable for vegetarians and is great value for such a large bar; an all-round winner.
3. Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Intense Dark Bar
A smooth and silky texture that’s not too intense on the palate
Cocoa: 70% | Flavours: Original | Size: 100g x 5
Lindt is well-known for their array of different chocolates, but their original dark chocolate bar with a modest 70% cocoa is a great place to start for anyone looking to try dark chocolate for the first time. Those who tried this chocolate found it to have a similar creamy texture to milk chocolate, but with the rich and intense flavours of dark chocolate, and that a little is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings.
4. Pana Chocolate Fig & Wild Orange
Try something exotic with this fruity bar
Cocoa: 70% | Flavours: Fig and Orange | Size: 45g x 4
If you’re a seasoned chocolatier and you’ve made your way through many of the classic dark chocolates on the market, then this exotic fruity bar from Pana Chocolate may tickle your taste buds. With 70% cocoa, you can expect this chocolate to be rich yet creamy, with intense bursts of flavour that really make this chocolate the ideal sweet treat for when you have those cravings. This would make a nice gift for any chocolate-lover, or a little treat for yourself when you deserve it most.
5. Amedei Toscano Black Cioccolato Fondente Extra 70%
Smooth tasting and smart looking with passionfruit flavours
Cocoa: 70% | Flavours: Passionfruit | Size: 50g
Another fruity entry comes from Amedei Toscano Black, with this passionfruit flavoured dark chocolate. It features 70% cocoa and is said to be smooth on the tongue with a long-lasting rich and tangy flavour you may find a welcome alternative to standard dark chocolate. The sleek black packaging also makes for a smart gift idea.
6. Montezuma's organic dark chocolate
Made with organic beans for a full and balanced flavour
Cocoa: 73% | Flavours: Original | Size: 100g
Fans of dark chocolate who just like it as it should be will like Montezuma’s organic dark chocolate, made from beans sourced in the Dominican Republic. The chocolate has no added sugars and is suitable for vegans, so you can expect to find this a guilt-free snacking option for when those chocolate cravings hit. Not too rich, not too creamy, 73% dark chocolate was found to be just enough for those who like the bitter taste, while not being too overpowering for those who have recently tried dark chocolate for the first time.
Looking for other ways to pack antioxidants into your diet? Take a look at our round up of the best green teas, for a gentle caffeine fix and plenty of health benefits to boot.